Blog 12 May - Ida

Wicher van Bree in Studytrip Scandinavia 2023 2023-05-13 19:23

Today was another early morning for us, but luckily a yummy breakfast was provided with a wonderful view. The rest of the day was filled with fun field trips and more physics, that I think everyone has enjoyed and been enjoying. I put a picture of my notes in this post, so you can get an abstract projection of my brain and maybe what we learned today :)

The first visit of the day was the Birkeland Space Centre, where Nikolai Østgaard gave a talk about the different astrophysics research done at the centre. He told us about their research on the asymmetry of the Aurora Borealis (northern hemisphere) and the Aurora Australis (southern hemisphere). Unfortunately, the odds of (visually) seeing the Aurora in Bergen are pretty slim. The space centre also does research on gamma rays that are emitted from lightning on Earth. A special detector with a very high time resolution, which is necessary to detect the short gamma ray pulses from earth, was built at the centre and is currently doing measurements on the International Space Station.

We had a few hours in between the two institures (which were both located in the same building). Together with some others, I got lunch at the supermarket nearby, hung out in the park and rode around the area on the popular pink electric scooters. The hills in Bergen are quite intense and steep, so it is better for your legs to not have to walk up them all the time, and the scooters always make Angry Scooter Noises going up.

After lunch, we visited the Institute for Reservoir Physics and got interesting talks from Arne Grave and Zachary Alcorn. Zachary is from Ohio, and Arne just took a year-long sabbtical in the United States, so I personally loved listening to their American(ish) accents. They told us about their research on using carbon dioxide to extract oil and gas from the ground. Oil and gas is stored in porous rocks, kilometres deep in the earth. Carbon dioxide does not only push out these fossil fuels from the pores, but it is then captured in the ground. This is then an effective form of carbon storage.

We also got a tour in a few reservoir physics laboratories. These range from microsize (analyzing samples only a few millimeters wide with a specialized microscope) to macrosize (cilindrical rock samples pumped full of CO2 under a high pressure) . In their biggest experiment, in the basemet, a see-through tank is filled with different layers of sand and rock with varying perocity, and it is saturated with a Ph-dependant colored dye. Then, carbon dioxide is injected into the tank; the 'normal' rocks are colored blue by the dye, while the CO2 areas turn yellow because of their acidity. The blue and yellow dyes create a nice visualisation of the spread of CO2 within the rocks.

After the tour, one of the scientists was very kind to walk us to the university museum. He told us that "there were some nerds looking at whale bones, and suddenly, there was a university here.". We were allowed to look at a not yet opened exhibition there, developed by a PhD student, who was still working on the setup and had to inject more CO2 into the tank in the middle of his talk. The tank there was more than twice as large as those we saw in the lab, two meters wide and one meter high, and a camera took pictures of the dye distribution every 10 seconds. The PhD student was researching the movement of CO2 within the rock and its possibilities for chaotic behavior.

We took the bus back up the steep hill to the hostel. This was quite busy and reminded some of a lovely bus in Nijmegen #bus10. Dinner provided by the hostel was good. After dinner, some people went on a hike, and others sat in the sun outside and played cards. This went well until the whole mountain was swallowed by a layer of cold clouds. Ilsa and Björk bravely hiked all the way up the Ulriken mountain and had a beautiful view of the sunset, with a blanket of clouds and snow below. Bergen is a stunning city that I'll be sad to leave. Tomorrow is a free day, so I think we will spend it enjoying the wild nature, mountains and fjords. Adjø!